Creator: Reiko Momochi
Publisher: TokyoPop
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Drama
RRP: $9.99
Confidential Confessions v1
Reviewed by Miguel Douglas

Confidential Confessions is somewhat of a rarity in manga today. Not only does it touch upon serious issues such teenage identity, peer pressure, false love, bullying, suicide, drug abuse, and teenage prostitution—all which are real-life themes—but it’s through these themes that the characters display themselves as dynamic individuals who make realistic decisions that ultimately affect their direction in life. Even though one might consider the manga shoujo in nature, it’s the effective portrayal of teenage angst that speaks universally to any reader.

Volume one is delivered through two stories; each separate from one another but dealing with complex societal issues. The first story explores the life of Manatsu—a young girl who literally hates everything about her life—from her family and even her friends, it’s quite apparent she’s highly depressed. This depression leads to her unfortunate plan to commit suicide, which after a botched attempt, soon discovers another classmate who is into “cutting” and they eventually discuss a possible double-suicide together…

Our second story revolves around Yoshioka; a young teenage prostitute who has runaway from home. Yoshioka doesn’t believe in “love”…that is until she runs into a street performer named Ryo who loves for what she truly is. When she decides to leave the prostitution realm for good after one last trick to pay the bills, she risks losing everything she gained, including her newfound relationship with Ryo.

And while these two stories round out the first book, they speak volumes to me as a reader. With me being a male, I was thoroughly enthralled at the absolute realistic depictions that these female characters brought forth. I have never experience these situations things first-hand but I’ve known individuals who have faced similar situations and it’s heart-breaking. For a manga it’s surprisingly “wordy”, but this is a good thing! There are a lot of introverted moments that the characters are given to reflect and it reinforces the character depth immensely. And the art at times is very suitable to the situation at hand, given the circumstances, a well needed visual to accurately display the chaos and confusion the female protagonist are going through.

The first volume of Confidential Confessions was a fantastic read, and I hope it continues this trend. I highly recommend to all readers, either male or female, to take a chance and read Confidential Confessions, a manga that tackles such serious issues, not only relevant in the country the manga takes place, Japan, but throughout the world. These are issues that need to be examined, and having a manga about is a good place to start.

3 July 2007
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